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Should we view sanitation as just another business? The crucial role of sanitation entrepreneurship and the need for outside engagement

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Poor sanitation has recently been identified by the World Health Organization as the root cause of the majority of child deaths worldwide. Sadly though, progress on sanitation delivery currently lags well behind other Millennium Development Goals.

In developed countries, sanitation is typically the role of the water utility. In developing countries however, the sanitation market is dominated by small private providers, usually very local in nature and often benefiting from little outside support.

As such, private sanitation providers, from retailers to masons, from public toilet operators to latrine-emptying businesses, are of vital importance to medium- and lower-income communities. Unlike in the water sector, where there is much debate over private versus public provision, the key issue is how to combine a largely private system with an appropriate regulatory and supportive role from the public sector.

This article discusses the situation from the perspective of sanitation professionals, suggesting concrete ways to strengthen the urban sanitation market and thus accelerate progress towards a key pillar of human development.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-09-01

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